Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Paul Ashdown

Committee Members

Ed Caudill, Robert Heller, Robert Peterson, Norman Swan


This study examined 729 photos and cutlines published in NEWSWEEK's International Section that depicted events that occurred in the Soviet Union during the Gorbachev Era (1985-1991). The period saw change in Soviet domestic affairs (especially glasnost) and foreign relations (especially New Political Thinking or NPT) that cumulatively led to the end of the Cold War. NEWSWEEK coverage of the Gorbachev Era was compared to NEWSWEEK coverage of the Chernenko interlude (February 1984-February 1985) in order to have a base line for comparison.

NEWSWEEK increased its coverage of the Soviet Union during the Gorbachev Era. There were more editions, photos, and cutlines that depicted the era. A more diverse mix of content was covered. An increase occurred in content that prior to glasnost was considered taboo. NEWSWEEK depicted the Soviet Union in a more positive way in terms of Slant, Image, and Overall Image. International relations were depicted positively, Gorbachev and his spouse were depicted positively, but domestic turmoil was depicted negatively. NEWSWEEK had many gatekeepers. Photojournalists were important gatekeepers. Photos and cutlines were important conveyors of content and image. It was more difficult to measure latent content of photos than manifest content.

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